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Unjust system treats suspects as guilty

It's sad that even in this day and age, everyone and anyone is presumed guilty until proven innocent. If the reverse were true, there'd be no such thing as a pre-trial detainee. To use hearsay evidence to take away someone's freedom and livelihood is unjust. Yet it's acceptable in society, until it happens to you.

It's sad that we don't have Dawn Bustamante's killer in custody ("Bustamante suspect let go," Star-Bulletin, Sept. 7), but in reality, we never did. Solid evidence such as DNA, which was tested more than once in this case, showed we definitely had the wrong man. And why anyone would withhold information for 25 years, then suddenly come forward, baffles me.

We're lucky Delmer Edmonds Jr. (the wrongfully accused man who was in custody for 14 months) holds no grudge against Hawaii or our prosecutor's office. He could choose to go national and really stink up Hawaii's reputation as the land of aloha, but he's staying above that. Besides, we do a pretty good job of stinking up Hawaii's reputation ourselves, as the evidence would show.

Thomas Haae

Babe Ruth team had another member

Thank you for printing my letter recognizing the members of the Hawaii Babe Ruth 13-year-olds baseball team. In listing the players, I inadvertently omitted the name of Justin Maghamil, who was an integral part of the team.

I apologize for this error.

Ross Miyamoto

Under Bush policy, Iraq can attack first

In his commentary, "The Rising East" (Sunday, Sept. 8, 2002), Richard Halloran refers to President Bush's new policy of pre-emptive military action and observes, "Americans are not in the mood for diplomatic niceties or political correctness." However, launching pre-emptive military action against countries that may -- at some unspecified point and by some unspecified means -- threaten the United States is extremely troubling. It is also a clear violation of international law and United Nations resolutions, standards to which we certainly hold everyone else.

If this policy is nevertheless embraced by the United States, then I assume that other countries also have a right to employ it. Therefore, Iraq -- by virtue of the United States threatening it -- now has the right to launch a preemptive strike against us.

Terrance C. Horton

HPD fines those who try to protect property

The story "Police delay enforcing law on security alarm systems" (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 28) revealed that the Honolulu Police Department is unprepared to enforce the law it lobbied for, which would have required Oahu businesses and homeowners to register their security alarm systems by Aug. 25. HPD was expecting 25,000 registrations and has received only 14,000.

Another reason for the delay is revealed: The computer system isn't ready. "We want to make sure it's up to speed before we proceed with enforcement," Lt. Michael Rehfeldt said. "We don't want this to be a van cam and have it fizzle out and die."

A police sergeant is quoted as saying, "I'm sure there are a lot of people that don't agree with that law. Probably the mentality is they're homeowners trying to protect their homes and they're being held accountable for trying to protect their homes, and it's the crooks that are causing the problem. " In this fascinating observation, "held accountable" is used instead of "punished."

The homeowners and businesses that have installed alarm systems and must pay monthly fees now are being forced to pay $25 to register with HPD. Then there is the annual renewal fee of $5. To cap it all off, there is a fine of $50 if there are three false alarms in a 12-month period. Who decides what is a false alarm? The police.

If your alarm goes off and the police came to find your front door open but nothing disturbed, they consider that a false alarm. If a criminal sets off the alarm and runs away, leaving the door open, the police can call that a "false alarm."

Yep, another "talivan." Call your lawmaker.

Richard Rowland
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

Idiocy dominates at Aloha Stadium

What idiocy is next for Aloha Stadium? As season-ticket holders for 20-plus years, we were looking forward to this season. At the first University of Hawaii Warriors football game, we wait in a line of cars to enter Gate 1, then find parking is increased to $5. OK, the stadium needs money. Then we find Section 4 has been blocked off for permit holders, and everyone who usually parks there has moved to Section 5, which is where we usually park.

Soon come the city buses, which start parking along the chain-link fence, thus eliminating more spaces. OK, buses need parking spaces, too.

Then come more buses, which are allowed to double-park, leaving only one lane to drive through to leave. To put the icing on the cake, when we entered the stadium with our parkas in a plastic grocery bag, the bag was confiscated. Please tell me, what idiocy is left?

Rdeen Pang



How would Fox pay for light rail?

Regarding your recent Price of Paradise feature on the city's Bus Rapid Transit project (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 25), is Rep. Galen Fox really advocating a costly light-rail system? How is he planning to pay for it? Is he also advocating raising taxes to pay for light rail? Since he is a Republican, I thought he opposed tax increases. Maybe I'm wrong.

Or worse, is he just looking for sound bites during this election year?

Donald Choy


Price of Paradise
The Price of Paradise appears each week in the Sunday Insight section. The mission of POP is to contribute lively and informed dialog about public issues, particularly those having to do with our pocketbooks. Reader responses appear later in the week. If you have thoughts to share about today's POP articles, please send them, with your name and daytime phone number, to, or write to Price of Paradise, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana, Honolulu, HI 96813.
John Flanagan
Contributing Editor

How to write us

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

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